Armed with a handful of simple tips, you can save money on groceries each week to stick to your food budget—and have money for other things!
Save Money on Groceries
I’ve definitely gotten more deliberate about our food budget since having kids—oh, those years when we went out to eat every week! But while it might sound super nerdy, I actually love the challenge of setting a food budget and trying to stick to it.
Best Tips to Save Money on Groceries
- Reduce reliance on packaged snack foods, which typically cost more.
- When buying snack foods, buy large packages rather than single-servings.
- Eat beans and legumes weekly. (They cost less than meat.)
- Make meat more of an accent, rather than the main part of a meal.
- Skip prepared foods most of the time. Try quick dinners instead.
- Make use of leftovers for lunches.
- Consider lunch options besides just sandwiches. Deli meat is pricey.
- Buy store brands.
- Prep veggies to make sure you eat what you actually buy.
- Go to the store with a list and try to stick to it.
- Avoid extra trips to the store during the week.
- Have “fridge forage” nights when everyone can choose what they want from leftovers in the fridge.
- Stock up on meat and chicken when it’s on sale and store it in the freezer.
- Compare prices on chicken thighs, tenders, and breasts—thighs are often dollars less expensive than white meat.
- Keep meal plans flexible so you can adjust and use up what you need to as your week progresses.
- Put leftovers into the freezer in meal-size portions for future use.
- Take stock of your pantry and freezer before going to the store to make sure you don’t buy what you already have.
- Know which stores near you have the best prices and shop there!
- Stock up on pantry staples when at a store with better prices or when you find a sale.
- Use a coupon app and store coupons/cards/apps.
- Keep tabs on online grocery ordering like Amazon Subscribe and Save to make sure you really need what automatically comes to you.
- Try online grocery ordering for local stores if you often have trouble sticking to a list—you can’t impulse buy when you order this way.
- Cook family meals.
- Buy regular versions of “kid foods” (such as yogurt) and portion them out yourself.
- Stock up at the farmer’s market when produce is in season and less expensive. (We stock our freezer with kale during the summer and use it for smoothies all winter.)
- Buy in bulk from a local farmer for meat if you can get a discount and freeze it for future use.
- Freeze leftover produce from the kids for smoothies.
- Serve small portions to limit food waste and potentially increase the amount of leftovers.
Food Budgeting Tip
I also think that it’s worth noting that it’s okay to spend money on good food for your family. Experts are always saying that you get to vote with your pocketbook, so if you value sustainable agriculture and organics, it’s 100% okay to spend more money on them.
How much should I spend on groceries?
Also remember that the cost of groceries varies GREATLY depending on where you live. The average family of four with two young kids can range from $567-1106 a month, according to this super fascinating chart from the USDA. Those numbers will obviously vary, but it’s such good info to have for perspective. You do what’s best for your family, no guilt.